Importers, Wholesalers, and Distributors

There are hundreds of wine distributors, and thousands of retailers. Some utilize temperature controlled warehouses, and other do not. Over the course of years, I have personally observed some of the most callous conditions imaginable. I once saw hundreds of cases of top California cabernets sitting in a 90-100 degree unconditioned “warehouse”, destined for the market. I have observed wines offloaded in Washington, DC’s summer months from unconditioned delivery trucks, with wine literally bubbling out from underneath the capsules.

On the other hand I have seen huge modern warehouses, maintained at relatively benign room temperature or cooler. A number of distributors – particularly smaller wine dedicated operations – use small conditioned trucks or vans equipped with commercial cooling capability. This can be the difference between a wine arriving safely at a cool 60, or at an impermissibly high temperature.

Consumers – ask your retailer which distributors they use and what type of facilities they employ. Has the retailer been to the premises? How does the retailer know that the wines they purchase have been stored properly? When more and more consumers start asking these questions, the trade will get the message.

The same applies to the retailers themselves. What are the temperature conditions in the store? What are they in the store's warehousing areas? Does the retailer allow wines on display to come in contact with direct sunlight? Are wines stored for long periods standing upright, with corks not in contact with wine?